Working Title Press, 2015
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Flying makes Seagull’s heart sing. Using wind and wings, she would hover and glide, swoop and soar over the sea, the beach and the dunes. But one day as she lands on what looks like clean white sand, her foot gets caught in some tangled fishing line thoughtlessly discarded as it so often is. She can no longer fly and she cannot free herself. The more she tries, the more difficult it becomes, and her friends are unable to help. Each can only loosen it a little. Exhausted, hungry and unable to find food, she nestles into the grass in the dunes. Just as she is going to sleep, she hears footsteps and a little boy comes along…
Apart from a personal love of seagulls and the freedom they represent, this is a touching and timely tale of how a thoughtless act such as discarding unwanted fishing line can have disastrous and unforeseen effects. While Danny Snell doesn’t take the story to what could have been its conclusion, nevertheless his words and pictures carry a very strong message that should reach every reader’s heart. Based on a true event, he has taken an everyday situation and used his skill with words and pictures to create a memorable story that has a profound message. For while Seagull flies through clean, fresh, invigorating air, she flies over sand dunes that look pristine from on high but which, in reality, are littered with rubbish left by lazy humans. The simple, sparse expanses of nature’s landscape make the unnatural elements come into sharper focus.
With summer coming on and beach holidays looming, this is the perfect story to share, to discuss and to create awareness that just because a piece of rubbish is out of our hands, it is not gone for ever and that our carelessness can have dire consequences for the creatures that give this planet the beauty it has. A plastic bag can be fatal for so many. There is also a parallel message about the cumulative effect of everyone just doing a little and that what may be overwhelming for one, can be overcome by many. Together, we can make a difference.
Even though it may look like it is intended for our youngest readers, it has something to offer a broad age group and hopefully the message of “take only photographs, leave only footprints” will become the mantra and model of all our students.